American Staffordshire Terriers or “AmStaffs” are medium-sized dogs of the terrier group. They have muscular and robust bodies despite their small size. They have broad heads with sharp jaws and dark round eyes that are set wide apart. Their coat is short and sleek and comes in different colors – blue, white, fawn, red, black, or any combination of white and other color patterns.
AmStaffs are usually described as aggressive dogs in appearance, but this is far from the truth. These dogs are gentle and devoted family dogs. They are attractive, charming, and good loyal companions too. Though they can be hard to handle, for the right person, an American Staffordshire Terrier is a faithful and trustworthy friend.
American Staffordshire Terrier Breed Statistics
|Dog Breed Group||Terrier|
American Staffordshire Terrier Breed Ratings
|Friendly with family|
|Friendly with kids|
|Friendly with strangers|
|Friendly with other dogs|
American Staffordshire Terrier History
The American Staffordshire Terrier is believed to have originated from England. Their ancestors are thought to be the crossbreed of the Bulldog and Terrier breeds. Because of this, they earned names like Bull-And-Terrier Dog, Pit Bull Terrier, and Half and Half.
These dogs were companions of butchers and farmers. For butchers, AmStaffs were used for hunting wild boars and managing bulls, while for farmers, they served as ratters. But after a long day of work, they become excellent human companions.
When barbaric sports came into popularity, American Staffordshire Terriers also entered the scene. The dogs’ tenacity, courage, and muscular build were thought to be perfect for these sports. And even if dogfighting sports were forbidden, people continued to use these dogs for the same purpose, until now.
In 1850, the Staffordshires were finally imported to America. Around this time, they have been called different names: American Pit Bull Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers, American Bull Terriers, and Yankee Terriers.
It still took several years before the breed was recognized as Staffordshire terrier by the American Kennel Club in 1936. The name was then changed to the American Staffordshire Terrier in 1976.
Now, American Staffordshire Terriers are used as police dogs, watchdogs, and even compete in dog competitions. They are extremely popular in the field of weight pulling because of their strength.
The only sad thing that probably happened to the American Staffordshire Terrier is that they are now labeled as aggressive dogs. And this is mainly because of humans’ misuse of them in the previous centuries. And they are included in one of the few dogs that are banned in some households.
American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament
American Staffordshire Terriers are friendly, smart, good-natured, playful, and tenacious dogs. They may have the reputation of being aggressive and dangerous dogs, but Amstaffs are gentle and devoted dogs. They are believed to be suitable for any good and non-busy owners.
AmStaffs are remarkable family dogs. They love humans, and they most especially love spending time with families, even with children. Though they make great playmates for older kids, supervision is still needed.
If trained well, American Staffordshire Terriers’ aggressiveness is more directed to intruders. You can expect them to growl or bark when someone they don’t know comes to your home. But a good introduction will make them friendly. Some owners would say that these dogs can be great judges of character and people’s intent. They can be excellent watchdogs.
With their high energy, you shouldn’t let American Staffordshire Terriers get bored. If you do, their behavior may become destructive; they will chew, dig, and bark. Remember, these dogs are not couch potatoes. They like to be in a place where they could run and wander.
Early socialization while growing up is essential with this dog breed. They should get accustomed to other animals, people, sights, and sounds. This will reduce the American Staffordshire Terrier’s tendencies to be unwell.
When training them, it’s best to always be affectionate and consistent. This will make them become a dedicated, warm, and submissive companion for life.
American Staffordshire Terrier Care Requirements
- Nutrition: The American Staffordshire terrier needs a high-quality and well-balanced meal. It should contain all the essential nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. It’s essential to buy high-quality ingredients. They are best when they come from animal-based sources, but their food varies depending on their ages and sizes. They need 18% protein and 5% fat though this might decrease as they grow older. You can get proteins from animal meat such as chicken, lamb, beef, and fish. Fiber and vitamins are nutrients you can get from vegetables and fruits, whole grains for carbohydrates, and fish or chicken oils for fats. If you feed them dog food, always buy the premium ones. You must make sure it doesn’t contain fillers and other additives.
- Grooming: The AmStaff’s short and stiff coat is effortless to maintain. It occasionally sheds so there is very little brushing for you to do. You can do this weekly, just to remove any shedding coat and keep it healthy. These dogs do not usually have a doggy odor. Baths can be given occasionally, only when it’s necessary. Ears should be cleaned regularly to prevent infection. For the nails, you have to ensure to make it short as much as possible to prevent pain and discomfort from the
- Exercise: The American Staffordshire terriers have high energy levels. They need lots of exercise. Leaving them to run around the yard is not sufficient. The best exercises or activities for these dogs are done with you. You can take them to your long walks daily. You can also have them participate in canine sports such as obedience, agility, and dock diving.
- Health: The American Staffordshire terrier is a generally healthy breed. However, you should always be cautious about some appearing health conditions between 3 and 5 years. These dogs are prone to joint diseases like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and osteoarthritis, which can make it hard for them to work as years go by. Other health conditions, such as congenital heart diseases and cataracts, can also appear. The screening test is highly recommended for your dog to take. This way, you would be able to rule out any diseases before they start.
- Lifespan: The life expectancy of American Staffordshire Terriers is 12 to 16 years.
Famous American Staffordshire Terriers
- Bud: An American Staffordshire Terrier sed as the subject of the Ken Burns documentary, “Horatio’s Drive”
- Petey: Well-known American Staffordshire Terrier dog actor of “Our Gang” film comedies
- Sgt. Stubby: Known as the best K-9 of WWI
Fun Facts about American Staffordshire Terriers
- The American Staffordshire originated from England.
- They are sometimes mistaken as American Pit Bull Terriers, although they are a little shorter.
- They are still involved in dog fighting rings up to this day.
- They are muscular and robust dogs despite their size.
- They are called “staffy” for short.